Changing management agent, protecting boundary walls, basic facilities in rented homes
You are entitled to cut overhanging branches at the legal boundary. Likewise with ivy, or you could detach it from your side and push it back. Photograph: iStock
Q I would be obliged if you could set out for me the necessary steps required to follow in order to change the management agent in an apartment complex. There are 28 apartments in all and most owners are in favour of doing so.
A Judging from the question, I would gather that you haven’t changed your agent before, so perhaps your current agent was appointed by the developer.
You didn’t say whether or not you have a board of “owner directors” already in place. If you have, then changing agent is relatively straightforward. If you haven’t, then you have a number of things to do before you can get on with the job.
Assuming you already have your own board of directors, and the members are intent on changing agent, you should ask your board to:
Decide at a board meeting to seek proposals from other agents
Choose three potential agents to begin with
Follow up on their references.
This bit is really critical. If you don’t have your own board of directors, ie, if the developer hasn’t handed over control of the management company to the owners yet, you should ask him to co-opt new directors chosen by the members or else ask the company secretary to convene an AGM or an EGM, with a view to having the developer and his nominees step down and new directors elected from amongst the owners. Then you go through the process outlined above.
Before appointing the new agent, the board must be satisfied that the agency has both the experience and systems capability to manage your management company’s affairs. Do a Companies Office search on them (cro.ie). Download their latest set of accounts. You don’t want to give them your cheque book to manage if they can’t manage their own. And remember, the best are not always the cheapest.
It is now a statutory requirement under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 to enter into a service agreement with your agent, who must be licensed and have all the necessary resources at their disposal to do a professional job. Go through the service agreement with them word for word and make sure you know what you’re agreeing to. We would suggest that you only enter into a one-year agreement initially.
Finally, give your outgoing agent at least a month’s notice in writing.
Joe Wyse is a member of the Irish Property & Facilities Management Association
Q I am 72 and live alone. My long back garden is bounded by walls with four owners on the left side. One property on the left was sold in 2000 and the new owners took liberties with my boundary wall unknown to me during a time while I had let my own house.
At the time I acted without legal or other advice and simply asked that the wall be restored to its previous state. I had taken a photo of the wall from my side and it really was an eyesore on what had been an integral granite stone wall. The owner responsible blamed the workmen and promised to have the matter put right. Again, he engaged workmen who buried the debris left by their work in my garden. However, I couldn’t pursue the matter at the time.